Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>Remove/strip top-layer paint from interior drywall?
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nyk
Remove/strip top-layer paint from interior drywall?

Hi, I would like to remove/strip the surface layer of paint from some walls of my apartment, because the paint used is still smelling after 6 months and is causing me chemical sensitivity allergies. I guess the walls are drywall. I do not know the exact paint that was used (by the landlord or previous tenant), but I think it was a latex paint, flat finish. I would prefer not to use chemicals, so could a heat gun or something like the Speedheater work okay, since I do not need to get down to the bare surface? It's fine if I get more thorough removal, but primarily I need to get rid of the surface coat.

The building is a duplex apartment building in Los Angeles, built probably in the 1960's or 1970's, before 1978, but well-maintained. I have not tested for lead, yet. The walls and trim do not have thick layers of paint, so I'm guessing the place was stripped or renovated previously.

Thanks for any advice on eco-friendly options.

ordjen
Re: Remove/strip top-layer paint from interior drywall?

Nyk,

Before you try stripping the last layer of paint from the walls, first try sealing them in with BIN sealer. BIN is a white pigmented shellac. Shellac is probably the most organic paint product on the market. It is the excretions of an oriental insect dissolved in denatured alcohol. It is a terrific sealer of smells such as cat and dog urine and the acrid odor of a fire.

If you are sensitive to odors and/or VOC's, try one of the new low odor no VOC's paints such as FreshAire by Glidden as the finish coat.

Even if you should go ahead and strip the last layer of paint off, there is no guarantee that the objectional odor has not permeated into the drywall paper. Try sealing it in first!

A. Spruce
Re: Remove/strip top-layer paint from interior drywall?

I agree 100% with everything ordjen said. Stripping is going to open a whole can of worms you don't want to get into. Encapsulate the odor with BIN primer (Zinsser brand, red label is a great one ). Follow directions for application and clean up, this is not a water clean up product, you must use alcohol. Follow the primer with a good paint and you should be good to go. BTW, it is not uncommon for paint odors to remain for several weeks, which is why it's a good idea to only paint in warm weather when the windows and doors can be open to ventilate odors for several days.

nyk
Re: Remove/strip top-layer paint from interior drywall?

Thanks so much for the helpful advice!

(What is CDO, or OCD? The acronym I'm familiar with is MCS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity).

A. Spruce
Re: Remove/strip top-layer paint from interior drywall?
nyk wrote:

Thanks so much for the helpful advice!

(What is CDO, or OCD? The acronym I'm familiar with is MCS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity).

OCD = Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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